Where To Get Great Mediterranean FoodBecause narrowing down your options in a city with so much good Mediterranean food is hard.
Unlike an honest politician, good Mediterranean food isn’t hard to come by in the nation’s capital. There are few things more satisfying than food soaked in olive oil, full of feta, and topped with thyme, whether it's Turkish, Greek, or Italian. And before you run out the door to explore an integral part of the city’s culinary landscape, it helps to know where the good spots are. Lucky for you, we’re here to do the legwork. These are some of the best Mediterranean restaurants in the city.
During the week, you'll often find couples having heartfelt chats at the bar in Sospeso. You might even feel tempted to pull up a stool and join in as soon as you step into this Mediterranean restaurant on H St. Don't get distracted by the chatter and the blue Spanish tiles, grab a table instead because you don't want to miss out on the branzino which is usually sold out by the end of the night. Sit upstairs by windows that overlook H St. or opt for the alcove on the first floor that almost feels like a private room, which is great if you’re looking for something more intimate. Service here can be a bit unpredictable and will at times require you to flag down your server—admittedly very annoying—but the food is good enough to bring you back.
Albi is one of our favorite restaurants in Navy Yard. The $125 Sofra menu at the Levantine (the Mediterranean coastal region of the Middle East) restaurant changes slightly depending on how the chef is feeling, but comes with the best pita bread we’ve ever tasted. The bookshelf near the chef’s table is lined with antique teapots and a copy of Gaza Cookbook. Friend groups and date nights are common, and there’s a literal buzz throughout the dining room thanks to folks excitedly chatting about their latest course. And if you’re feeling fancy, you can have yours served at the hearth table where you can watch your food get cooked over an open fire.
It’s hard to take your eyes off the kabobs sizzling on the grill at Maydan. At the center of this Middle Eastern restaurant in Cardozo is a custom-built hearth where food is made on an open fire. Dinner is served family-style, so the restaurant works great for groups looking to break bread (literally) in the hustle and bustle of somewhere welcoming and over an array of good food. Order the chicken kabob (shish taouk on the menu) and a small plate of honey-soaked dates. For the perfect bite, sandwich the two together, and voila, pure bliss.
Agora is one of those places that everyone has been to, and if not, it’s on their list. That’s because the Mediterranean food is good and it’s a fun place to be. The laughter and good times are infectious at the Dupont Circle restaurant, and it’s a spot best enjoyed in a group, since it’s all small plates. Come for lunch or dinner, which is a calmer experience than the haphazard, all-inclusive brunch. Expect it to be packed all the time, both inside and on the patio. The htipiti, a red pepper spread, is a star across all menus and is so fresh and bright that you might be smiling before you take a bite.
Yasmine, a Lebanese stall at Union Market, has cracked the code for good fun: kebabs and cocktails. The smell from the grill at this Lebanese shop wafts through the air at food hall so much so that you can’t help but follow the scent. Once there, you’ll find a fast-casual restaurant behind a wooden bar occupied by businessmen still in their suits and couples grabbing a quick bite. The shish taouk is superb. The simple but classic wrap is made with charred chicken, french fries, pickles, and garlic. It’s the perfect sandwich on the go and something you’ll find yourself unconsciously craving days later. Pair it with the apricot sour which flawlessly balances savory and sweet for a flawless meal.
George’s sells some of the best shawarma in DC, which explains why there’s always a line to the door. Thankfully, the service here is fast and the Georgetown spot is larger than it looks. Grab your meal at the downstairs counter, then head up the narrow staircase to find the seating area if you’re too impatient to take your food to go. The lamb and chicken shawarma platters, served on a heap of rice alongside fresh pickled radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes, are worth every penny (in this case, $15).
This Turkish restaurant in Mt. Vernon Triangle is the Mediterranean brunch spot. Everything is bottomless for two hours, from the small plates to the beverages, for $45. Grab a seat in the sunshine near the floor-to-ceiling windows and order mimosas for the table—our favorites, because they’re light on the juice and heavy on the sparkling wine. The bottomless drinks here also include bloody marys and tea, a great option for anyone not drinking alcohol. It can get pretty packed here, so we recommend booking a reservation ahead of time. There’s a two-hour time limit, but they usually don’t press you about it.
This fast-casual restaurant in Dupont Circle serves some of the best Greek food in the city and although most customers take their food to go, the dining room at Souvlaki is incredibly charming. There are wooden benches and tables, framed photos of villas in Greece, and an outdoor patio for days when it gets warm and all you want to do is cradle a pita wrap and fries (just us?). Their baklava—super sweet and flaky—is the best of the best.